Surrealism and film after 1945 is the only available volume devoted to the diverse permutations of international surrealist cinema after the canonical inter-war period. The collection features eleven essays by prominent scholars such as Tom Gunning, Michael Löwy, Gavin Parkinson, and Michael Richardson. An introductory chapter offers a historical overview of this period as well as a theoretical framework for new methodological approaches. Taken as a whole, the collection demonstrates that renowned figures such as Maya Deren, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Jan Švankmajer took part in shaping a vibrant and distinctive surrealist film culture following World War II. Interdisciplinary, intermedial, and international in scope, the volume follows upon recent advances in art history, which have demonstrated that surrealism’s post-war existence has been dynamic, vivid, and adventurous. Beyond the canonical inter-war period, surrealism immersed itself in myth and occultism, participated in anti-colonial struggles, influenced the rise of a youth counterculture, and presented new perspectives on sexuality and eroticism, all of which feed into the permutations of surrealist cinema. Addressing highly influential films and directors related to international surrealism during the second half of the twentieth century, this collection expands the purview of both surrealism and film studies by situating surrealism as a major force in post-war cinema.
. So what of the British post-war era? In The Sixth Sense there is an unashamed example of the sensitive relationship between males, adult and child, that figures as so strong a motif in British post-war cinema. It is therefore tempting to say that Britain in this period left a legacy that America inherited. Although films such as Alexander Mackendrick’s Mandy (1952), Roy Baker’s Jacqueline (1956
Chapter 8 focuses on amateur films that addressed current social issues. Drawing on varied examples discussion explores the periodic trenchant criticisms of amateurs’ neglect of socially relevant topic concerns found within the specialist press and highlights aspects of filmmaking that overtly respond to contemporary issues. While much amateur footage discloses details of time and place, attention focuses here first on films about public health, welfare and housing before and after the start of the National Health Service, as well as the effects of post war urban redevelopment. Shot in hospitals, training centres and in the midst of urban slum clearance, such material varies stylistically from early actuality, topicals and documentaries to the visual reportage of Standard and Super 8mm users, and also the experimentation of post-war cinema, and reflects the changing involvement and interests of younger filmmakers. Issues of morality, violence, pornography, substance abuse and discrimination feature among later amateur productions as do issues of conflict and international insecurity, poverty, and growing up. Choice of topic and its handling denote shifting attitudes too, as seen in films concerning disability and homelessness. While socially engaged film-making represents a relatively small proportion of overall amateur activity, it is too important to ignore.
Michel Audiard is a prolific French screenwriter and dialogue writer. Between 1948 and 1984, he wrote the dialogue for around 130 films and twenty full screenplays. He also directed nine films, but – like Jeanson – his main talent resided in the conception of polished dialogue for specific actors, thus populating stories that were frequently written or adapted by established authors. His fictional worlds bring to life a gallery of colourful characters, interpreted by national (and sometimes international) film stars with strong personas (Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura, Jean-Paul Belmondo …). The chapter investigates Audiard’s screenwriting practices including his role in the consolidation of the use of dialogue as a major element of French popular post-war cinema. It focuses on particular cult comedies, crime stories and spoof gangster films from the late 1950s and 1960s coinciding with the emergence of the New Wave. It identifies Audiard’s ‘family’ at different stages of his career: the writing teams, directors and actors who contributed to the writing process in various ways and some of the features of dialogue that define his polished signature style. It also addresses his impact on screenwriter visibility and his legacy as a dialogue writer.
This has been the work of an unabashed cinephile writer, one with blatant tendencies to rant about life, the universe and the importance of the Wolseley motorcar to post-war cinema. British cinema is no longer the ‘unknown cinema of Britain’, as famously described by Alan Lovell in 1972, or the ‘lost continent’ that Julian Petley wrote of in 1986. Indeed, we have progressed from the days when a liking for the works of Basil Dearden or Bryan Forbes could once render you persona non grata in smart cinematic circles, doomed to roam the South Bank. As recently as
popularity’ (Thumim 1992 : 56). 5 The screen career of Jack Hawkins illustrates the sense of ambiguity within the patriarchy of post-war cinema. Kenneth More, at the height of his screen stardom, mirrored aspects of the social optimism of his 1950s audience; The Comedy Man (Alvin Rakoff 1964) illustrates the price of maintaining the ‘decent fellow’s’ public face. During the Second World War, the screen image of John Mills was that of a reliable working- or lower-middle-class Englishman stoically coping with life’s vicissitudes. By the late 1950s, his ostensibly stable
addition to the known facts of the attack and fates of the craft) and the beginning of the survivors’ journey to imprisonment. From the re-invocation of national peril in its first sequence, to the resigned acceptance of personal loss in the achievement of a higher goal in its last, Above Us the Waves registers a regret for the exigencies of the war comparable to The Dam Busters, and quite antithetical to the post-war cinema’s supposed celebration of victory. TNWC02 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 58 58 Post-war British naval films and the service comedy The film’s muted
’s La maschera del demonio / Revenge of the Vampires / Black Sunday (1960). Hammer films, which have been included in accounts of British cinema more often than other unstable genres, and, to a lesser extent, the Italian western, which I discuss briefly in Chapter 1, are possibly the only exceptions among European and North American post-war cinemas. But as the contrasting positions of film critics and historians reproduced above show, even Hammer productions began to acquire some degree of (contested) legitimacy within and as part of British cinema only from the
discovery, developing things as they ‘go along’, unconstrained by a script. In tune with Rossellini’s post-war cinema and anticipating the nouvelles vagues of the 1960s, Zavattini celebrated the supremacy of filming over plot and the immediacy of an unprogrammatic encounter between artist and materials. He contrasted the layered and flexible structures of diaries, of subjective, autobiographical journeys truly
over other forms of consumption’. 51 It is here, however, that the similarities between these two cinema-going nations end, since the reaction of exhibitors to these demographic and social changes in the USA was more pro-active than their counterparts in Britain. In the USA the decline in the post-war cinema audience was arrested to an extent by the development of new kinds of cinemas in the early 1950s. The most significant